Legislative Power in the United States

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Legislative power in the United States is represented by a bicameral parliament called the Congress, consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives. Its activities are regulated by the Constitution, laws, regulations of its Chambers, and established precedents. The leading powers include taxation, trade regulation with foreign countries and between the states, the right to declare war, the formation of the armed forces, and allocating funds for their maintenance (Ginsberg et al., 2018). Being the chief legislative body, the Senate has special powers; for example, it can approve or decline presidential appointments to top government posts, ratify or reject international treaties (Ginsberg et al., 2018). Lower House of Congress – The House of Representatives has the exclusive right to submit tax bills to Congress. However, in practice, this right is limited, since both chambers must approve any bill. The House of Representatives can impose impeachment against federal officials and has the power to elect a country’s President in situations when no candidate received the majority of the electoral votes.

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Congress Requirements

The United States Congress includes two chambers: the House of Representatives, another is the Senate, which is directly elected by two representatives from each state. There are 435 seats in the House of Representatives distributed among states according to their population; its members are elected for two years (Ginsberg et al., 2018). Candidates for members of the United States Congress are nominated in the Democratic and Republican parties’ primary elections.

The legislation of some states allows uncontested elections. A U.S. Senator can be a person who is 30 years of age or older, who has been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years before the election, being a citizen of the represented state (Ginsberg et al., 2018). A House of Representatives’ candidates must be at least 25 years old, American citizens for the past seven years, and live in the state they represent (Ginsberg et al., 2018). The members of the chamber elect a speaker to preside over its meetings. The other leaders of the chamber are the leaders of the party factions.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The federal legislative initiative can only come from members of Congress. Both chambers of Congress are equal in initiating and discussing bills. The only exception is that financial ones must always come from the House of Representatives as they are initially examined in a complex manner and then sent to the Senate for approval. There are three readings in each chamber, usually on three different days. The bill must be passed in identical wording by both chambers. Therefore, it is approved by one chamber and sent to another. If the second chamber supports it, then the bill is transmitted to the President after signing by the House of Representatives and the Senate (Mezey, 2019). If it is rejected by one of the chambers, its text and amendments are returned to the first stage. When the President uses the veto power, Congress can override it by 2/3 of each house’s votes and pass the law in the existing version (Mezey, 2019). The President can sign or return the bill within ten days; as long as it does not happen, the bill automatically becomes law without signing.

Examples of Congressional Powers

Influenced by the Vietnam War in the 1970s, controversy arose in the United States over a bill regulating the President’s military authorities. The President rejected a law that restricts his powers to wage war without congressional approval but then passed by Congress (Mezey, 2019). Another example of an activity is that the American Congress’s chief house approves and sends a package of documents on the U.S. budget for each year to the President for signing. Finally, in 2020 the U.S. House of Representatives Legal Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee has begun hearings involving Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, and Jeff Bezos (Romm, 2020). They will act as part of an investigation into the use of non-competitive practices.


Ginsberg, B., Lowi, T., J., Campbell, A., L., Weir, M., & Tolbert, C., J (2018). We the People (12th ed.). W W NORTON & Company

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Mezey, M. L. (2019). Congress, the President, and Public Policy. Routledge.

Romm, T. (2020). Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Grilled on Capitol Hill over Their Market Power. The Washington Post. Web.

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DemoEssays. (2022, February 19). Legislative Power in the United States. Retrieved from https://demoessays.com/legislative-power-in-the-united-states/


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"Legislative Power in the United States." DemoEssays, 19 Feb. 2022, demoessays.com/legislative-power-in-the-united-states/.


DemoEssays. (2022) 'Legislative Power in the United States'. 19 February.


DemoEssays. 2022. "Legislative Power in the United States." February 19, 2022. https://demoessays.com/legislative-power-in-the-united-states/.

1. DemoEssays. "Legislative Power in the United States." February 19, 2022. https://demoessays.com/legislative-power-in-the-united-states/.


DemoEssays. "Legislative Power in the United States." February 19, 2022. https://demoessays.com/legislative-power-in-the-united-states/.